WiSe 16/17: Knowledge, Innovation, and Intellectual Property Rights
The scientific and technological advances of the 20th century have made knowledge a more, if not the most, important production factor in today’s economy. An increasing proportion of commodities ... Lesen Sie weiter
The scientific and technological advances of the 20th century have made knowledge a more, if not the most, important production factor in today’s economy. An increasing proportion of commodities traded is knowledge-based. In many cases, the value of the intellectual property used to produce a good by far exceeds the costs of labor and raw materials. In the digital economy, goods, such as e-books, music, and software, can be reproduced at zero marginal cost as printing and pressing plants are no longer required. Yet the same infrastructure that makes global marketplaces possible facilitates the illicit dissemination of copies of copyrighted works on a worldwide scale. It comes as no surprise that knowledge-based industries have been pushing continuously for stricter enforcement and higher standards of protection for their most valuable assets. On the flipside, an emerging consumer and user movement has criticized the governments of the global North for overprotecting rights holders at the expense of public welfare. In fact, intellectual property rights have been contested since their inception. Is knowledge a commodity like any other or should it be freely available to everybody? Is the protection of creations and inventions a necessary incentive for innovation? Is copying a form of theft or piracy? Do intellectual property rights benefit developed and developing countries equally?
This seminar will address these questions both theoretically and empirically. We will discuss concepts, such as knowledge, creativity, innovation, and intellectual property rights from a variety of Comparative and International Political Economy perspectives. Moreover, we will look at a number of cases where actors clash over the protection of copyrighted or patent-protected knowledge, such as educational materials, agricultural seeds, and HIV/AIDS medicines.
No prior knowledge of these topics is required. All students are expected to read the required readings and participate actively in class discussions. For graded credit, students will write a term paper on a topic of their choice related to the seminar. Please consider that the seminar will be held in English.